For those who work in transport logistics management, one of the highest-profile issues is the growing need to find greener ways to operate. In order for the industry as a whole to remain sustainable, it’s necessary for every part of the supply chain to contribute. This includes freight forwarders, who are responsible for organising the documentation and logistics of deliveries from port to door.
The need for sustainability is a modern one, and being eco-friendly is not always, by its nature, economically friendly – or easy. One of the more helpful ways of tackling the issue is to offer the sincerest form of flattery and copy what other successful freight forwarding operations have done.
Case Studies Offer Tips for Logistics Management
Delving into case studies is an ideal way to see what works and doesn't work within the context of the industry. While the nuts and bolts will naturally vary from client to client, the principles of successful logistics management remain the same. This particular case study of a large independent and multi-modal operator in the UK is an excellent example of how freight forwarders can play a highly effective role in making the industry more environmentally friendly.
Starting With a Goal in Mind
The company aligned the development of their sustainable logistics management solutions with their corporate environmental goals. By keeping their end objective in mind, they were able to review packing and shipping processes to identify areas in which improvements could be made sustainably, while still meeting their clients’ requirements and expectations.
Racking for Vehicle Transportation
The export department of the freight forwarding company recognised that there was a different way in which multiple vehicles could be stowed and transported in a standardised intermodal shipping container.
The innovative method involved the implementation of reusable metal car racks, which could be rotated and then re-used as required. The metal racking system allows for easy building and collapsing, and for the ability to configure across a range of load combinations. As a result, the same racking system can be used to secure three 4x4 vehicles or six smaller cars simply by reconfiguring it. It also allows for other cargo to be stowed in the same container as the vehicles, making it considerably more efficient and effective than traditional timber storage.
The company's implementation of the metal racking system reduces the number of required containers by 50%, which vastly optimises the space on vessels and also increases customers' choices in terms of routes and carriers.
The Benefits of a Green Approach
The benefits to the industry as a whole are clear, in that optimising space on shipping modalities (be they road, rail or sea) results in less fuel usage and lower emissions. Individual customers who take up the service will, by association, be able to show their commitment to their "green credentials" and demonstrate their desire to uphold the principles of corporate social responsibility.
In short, the implementation of a simple racking system was a win for the customer, a win for the supply chain, a win for the industry and a win for the environment.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange is the leading service for matching haulage jobs with available vehicles. They also provide expert articles on subjects like logistics management and other freight industry related topics. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.